You have no idea how much a person can like a fruit. You may like bananas so much you eat one every morning, but how about owning 17,000 of banana related items and make a museum out of it? Located southeast of Palm Springs in Mecca, CA, International Banana Museum is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Record for having the largest collection dedicated to a single fruit.
Nearby places to visit
1. Salvation Mountain
2. East Jesus
3. Salton Sea
4. Abandoned Water Tanks & Animal Painting
5. Cabazon Dinosaur
The museum was started back in 1976 by a man name Ken Bannister, who called himself the “Top Banana Man”. He also started the banana club, wrote books about banana, been on talk shows to talk about his banana obsession, and featured in numerous newspaper and local radio stations. I think he definitely deserves the title of the top banana man. He just recently sold his collection to a man name Fred, who currently owns and operates the museum.
The museum has everything from stuffed-bananas, banana key chains, banana toys, banana photo album, banana chair, banana car, banana jacket, banana shirt, banana everything else you can ever possibly imagine.
Open: I think that they open seasonally during the winter. Summer is too hot and there are usually nobody going down in that area.
Cost: Usually $2 per adult and $1 per kid, but when we visited, because we were a large group, he only charged us a $1 each
If you like bananas, you have to go here! My friends and I did not mean to stop here. We were on our way to Salvation Mountain, and this was conveniently on the way. We were just driving by, and we saw a person in a banana suit dancing and waving at us. Obviously, we needed to stop for that! I braked and made a u-turn immediately and pulled into the museum.
The owner, Fred, came out and greeted us. He was really nice, and welcome us into the museum. You can tell that he was super happy that we stopped by. He gave us discount to only $1 per person from $2 because there were a lot of us. The stop was more than worth it. The museum was really interesting. Honestly, it was one of those what the hell places that you just never thought could ever existed but does.
The place is small; it is simply a room, but it contains thousands and thousands of banana items. It was really amazing to just walk around and look at all the stuff. My friends and I had a great time and we were just trying on the jacket, putting on hats, and taking pictures with all the banana things.
I highly highly recommend that you try the banana shakes. It was pretty dang good, and seriously, when else are you going to try banana shakes from the world’s largest banana museum. They also have banana soda, and you can make banana soda float with a scoop of ice cream. There’s also a restroom here, which makes it a great stop before Salvation Mountain because there’s no restroom there. I think that this place is a great stop on your way to either the Salvation Mountain or Salton Sea. A visit shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes which can be easily included into your itinerary.
Directions & Contact
If you want to get a hold of Fred, the current owner, please email him at email@example.com or visit the official website here.
The museum is located on the HWY 111 south of Palm Springs. I can’t find the exact address, so here’s my best explanation of the direction. If you’re coming down from LA, OC, or Palm Springs. From HWY 86S, head south onto HWY 111 south and this place is located right off the highway on your right side (if heading down), and it should have a huge sign that says “International Banana Museum” and occasionally a dancing banana man. If you’re heading to Salton Sea, then this will definitely be on your way. It is a few miles before the Salton Sea Visitor Center, about 25 miles north of Bombay Beach, and 30 minutes north of Salvation Mountain and Niland.
Have a great visit. If you have any questions, just comment and I will certainly reply.
I didn’t know about this one! Will check out the next time we visit the desert in spring.
Make sure you do! it is quite interesting and it is a good rest place after a long drive if you’re not planning on going to the Salton Sea. They just reopened again after an extensive close and maybe that’s why they haven’t really been in the news. They just reopened the saturday before this weekend, which was when I visited them.
How could I live in California this long and not know there is a banana museum?!
Haha it is quite random! We literally stumbled upon this by accident on our drive to the salton sea. I think that the owner’s mom was the one dancing in a banana suit on the side of HWY 111. My friends and I were like “what the heck” and we had to stop and check it out
Wow, that’s different.
Different is definitely right! When i was there I just thought “what the hell” pretty much the whole time. But it was a fun and quirky visit. Definitely worth it!
the nostalgia, I went there when I was little before they move near palm springs
wow! The collection must has gotten so much bigger. I heard they moved quite a few times. It used to be right in LA right?
This is awesome. This is definitely something I’m going to try.
Definitely try. and there are other cool places around to visit as well such as the salvation mountain and east jesus
Pretty Cool! 🙂
It is pretty cool isn’t it! Really odd that it’s in the middle of the desert of california. hahaa
It’s an amazing collection – what fun!
It really is. It’s even better that I just stumbled upon this randomly haha
I don’t live in California, but I’ve been there 5 or 6 times. Great state. So much to see and do. I missed the banana museum though. Next trip maybe. Good article.
California is great great state! It’s really great living here because there are so many off the beaten path places like this around. You should definitely visit this place. Make it a trip and make sure to visit Salvation Mountain, East Jesus, and the Salton Sea when you’re in the area. They are all equally as interesting and spectacular.
What an interesting sounding museum – I love places like this!
It was really interesting. I stumbled upon this place while on my way to the Salvation Mountain. Definitely a worth while place to visit.
Your blog is so awesome! I’m going to this museum next week because of this article 🙂
You have no idea how happy this makes me! That’s the whole point of this blog. Your comment makes me keep on blogging! thank you so much and let me know about your experience and feel free to ask me any questions.
Also, if you go to this museum, please make sure to stop by the Salton Sea and visit Salvation Mountain and East jesus, they are all in the same general direction. Salvation Mountain is about 30-45 minutes south of the banana museum, but you must go there because its incredible! you can find information about all of these places on my blog too.
Heyy ! Is it just a museum or you can actually buy stuff ? For example the key chains, can you buy some or its just a collection ? 😮
Hey, you can buy only some stuff there like banana smoothies and soda. But last time I was there, everything is merely for display and you can’t buy the items that are being shown.
Oh and btw, I discovered your blog yesterday because my boyfriend an I are trying to find out where to leave later (im in canada(you should come visit canda it is really beautiful) and he is in California) and everything you listed around that area kinda convinced me 😀 I love weird stuff 😀 and your blog is really cool 🙂 Dont stop please 😮
Thank you for your comment Adrianne! Really appreciate it 😀